September 17, 2007

McCain: Oh, By The Way ...

John McCain has decided to let everyone know that he's a Baptist. Of course, he didn't do that in Iowa, or New Hampshire, or California. He did it in South Carolina. Only place there's more Baptists around than in the Carolinas is in Texas (and that's just because it's bigger, and there's more room for us there).

Needless to say, I was skeptical. McCain has been calling himself Episcopalian for a little while now, and that's a LONG way from Baptist (at least the Baptists I hang out with). All of a sudden, with his campaign in jeopardy, he's Baptist.

But then I started thinking -- who am I to judge. And the church he's been attending looks like it's got it together. They even podcast!

But to McCain, denominational label isn't important.

In May, McCain's campaign identified his religion to The Associated Press as Episcopalian, but noted his four younger children are Baptists and he attends the North Phoenix Baptist Church when at home.

McCain grew up Episcopalian and attended an Episcopal high school in Alexandria, Va. On Monday, he spoke briefly about that history and about the Baptist church he now attends. Then, after saying his overall faith is what's important, he concluded: "I don't have anything else to say about that issue."

from the Associated Press article
McCain also finds the Baptist church he's attending "more fulfilling" than the Episcopal church.

So is this an attempt to gain some street cred among evangelical voters? Maybe -- though for many he blew that when he went to Liberty University to speak (of couse, some of us thought Jerry was nuts to invite him in the first place -- evangelicals have long memories, after all). Personally, I think it's his way of addressing the religion issue without making it a huge issue.

And I think he did a pretty good job.

{Edit}: Here's a new wrinkle on the situation -- McCain has had his kids baptized in the Baptist church, but hasn't done it himself. “I didn’t find it necessary to do so for my spiritual needs,” he said. But he affirms that he's a Baptist. So NOW the whole baptism/church membership thing that the Christian blogosphere has been arguing and debating about (at least my own little neighborhood of it has) is now front page news, thanks to John McCain. Can you be a Baptist and not been baptized as a believer? See my comments on the piece at GetReligion.

Posted by: Warren Kelly at 03:33 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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1 At this level of politics, nothing happens on accident. I'm sure they did a calculation to see how many votes he would gain.

Posted by: romney facts at September 17, 2007 04:29 PM (y8Anu)

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